This new audio system for cars uses vibrations to spread noise around your entire car whilst weighing 90% less than car speakers.
The new speaker-less audio system has been developed by German automotive parts supplier Continental. They call it Ac2ated Sound and it could revolutionise car stereo systems if it catches on not only reducing the weight of cars significantly but also creating sound everywhere.
Continental’s Ac2ated Sound system uses actuators (the name makes sense now huh?) rather than speakers. Actuators are tiny transducers that work similarly to the parts at a speakers core. The transducers are made up of a magnet and a coil which generate micro-vibrations. By vibrating surfaces in the vehicle Continental eliminates the need for a speaker, which creates sound through it’s own vibrations.
Continental took this challenge upon themselves due to, what they say, are the high expectations of drivers towards their car audio systems. Due to the demand for high quality audio systems in modern cars it has resulted with many modern cars being weighted down with multiple heavy speakers to provide quality 3D audio.
Head of Continental’s business unit ‘Infotainment and Connectivity’, Johann Hiebl said: “In the age of electric vehicles, car manufacturers are looking for innovative solutions to drastically reduce the weight of their vehicles and gain space for the passengers and new technologies. On the other hand, design and sound quality may not suffer from this goal.
“Our approach is to treat the car itself as an instrument. We use compact actuators to excite suitable surfaces to thus generate a natural, 3D sound experience. Typically experts have either the vehicle expertise or the acoustics expertise. Continental has both in-house plus the manufacturing know-how.”
Continental claim that “invisible car audio technology” can be integrated into any car model from a small electric car to big, high-end sedans. Whilst speaker-less audio systems does create a small loss in volume it’s nothing compared to the fractional weight in comparison to using speakers.
Director of the competence centre CVH at Continental Engineering Services, Dimitrios Patsouras said: “Moreover, it is not necessary to integrate speakers with oscillating membranes when you have all the surfaces you need to do the job in the car already. The A-pillar is suited for high frequencies, while the door panels, for instance, have the right properties for generating medium frequencies. Similar to speaker technology we use large components such as the roof lining or rear shelf to generate low frequencies.”
According to their reports so far “experts listening with a discerning ear” have hailed their sound quality. Surprisingly not only does there seem to be no concerns over the audio quality, not even a loss of lows, their quality is gaining the “highest praise”.
Still not convinced on how it works, this video explains it in an easily digestible manner: